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UPDATE: Flooding in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sierra Leone

Extreme rainfall has caused severe flooding in a number of countries. The people of Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sierra Leone, where VSO work on a number of programmes, have been particularly affected.

All volunteers and VSO staff in affected countries are safe, alert and working to support relief efforts where appropriate. See below for latest updates.

Flooding and mudslides in Sierra Leone

Latest update: 18/08/2017
Heavy rain in Sierra Leone

Heavy rain in Sierra Leone has caused mudslides and flooding

VSO is working with partners to establish a response to the fatal flooding in Sierra Leone.

On 14 August 2017 Sierra Leone experienced heavy rain, causing flooding and mudslides.

The death toll is currently over 300, with 1,000 people estimated as missing and 1,000 homes covered in deep mud from which people have only just been rescued. As is often the case in disasters, women, children and those living in poverty have been the hardest hit.

This has occurred while the country continues to face the legacy of the deadly Ebola outbreak.

VSO Sierra Leone staff and volunteers are safe and on alert to respond to any emergency. The weather forecast predicts more heavy rain.

The biggest concern will be the impact on public health as usually arises after extreme flooding, particularly in areas of high humidity when sewers and drainage canals will likely overflow. The risk of a disease outbreak is high.

VSO continues to liaise with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and partners to understand the situation. The Office of National Security is leading the humanitarian response. VSO is coordinating the psychosocial counsellors trained during the Ebola crisis to provide support to those affected and working with Engineers Without Borders UK to see how to best deliver water, sanitation and hygiene relief.

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Flooding in Bangladesh

Latest update: 21/08/2017
Flooding in Bangladesh Stephanie Marie Mueller

Mr Islam and his wife have been cultivating various vegetables on their farm land thanks to training by Growing Together. The recent rainfall caused the local river to overflow and flood their crops.

Excessive rainfall across Asia has hit Bangladesh. It is estimated a third of the country has been flooded, with further rainfall expected.

VSO volunteers and staff in Bangladesh are safe and are on alert to offer support.

Over 200 farmers in Rangpur, northern Bangladesh, who are part of the Growing Together programme have been hit by the flooding. There has been significant damage to the demonstration plots and to their crops. This will likely have an impact on their future income generation in this largely agricultural community.

VSO Bangladesh will be working with farmers to ensure that their resilience training and cooperative savings systems are activated in this time of crisis. 

Farmland completely submerged.

Volunteer Stephanie Marie Mueller captured the extent of the flooding around northern Bangladesh.

Flooding in Nepal

Latest update: 18/08/17
Damaged buildings in Nepal

Building damaged by landslides caused by heavy rain in Nepal

VSO is coordinating relief efforts following the devastating floods in Nepal.

The heaviest rainfall in 15 years has affected 35 of Nepal’s 75 districts. The death toll stands at 120 with 33 people missing and nearly 19,000 families being displaced.

VSO Nepal’s staff and volunteers are safe and the team remains on alert to offer support. More rain is expected.

The earthquakes in 2015 had already crippled Nepal. Many people in those affected districts were forced to live in temporary shelters that have not withstood the recent rainfall.

Schools are shut and being used as temporary shelters. Many district areas remain inaccessible as the rains damaged roads and bridges.

Around 100,000 houses are estimated as being in need of water, sanitation and hygiene relief. Shelter and food are all in jeopardy.

It’s estimated that farmers have lost $19m worth of crops, the impact of which will be felt for years in the largely agricultural population.

VSO Nepal has recently been selected as the coordinator to the Disaster Manager and Association of International NGOs task group in Nepal.

VSO has also activated the National Disaster Recovery Coordination Secretariat that was formed after the earthquake, using the learnings and systems in place to support coordination and information management for this recent crisis.

As coordinator, VSO continues to bring together capacity and teams within the government, local and international organisations to plan and implement relief operations.

Flooding in India

latest update: 18/08/17

Heavy rain has caused severe flooding and triggered landslides across India. In the state of Bihar in eastern India — one of the worst areas affected — at least 400 have died. In this region flooding encroached on Kalianjur where VSO youth (ICS) volunteers were located. Volunteers were evacuated before area was cut off by rising waters.

The VSO India team is constantly monitoring the situation to ensure volunteer safety and to offer support and assistance where appropriate.

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